By telling the story of two historical pioneers reclaimed from the amber of Israeli mythology, Gitai explores nothing less than the journey to the Promised Land, the Zionist dream made reality. Else Lasker-Schüler (Kreuzer) is a German expressionist poet, Tania Shocat (Neuman) a Russian socialist activist. In a boldly conceptualised Berlin, Tania takes leave of Else and sets off for the Holy Land, where she participates in one of the original agricultural collectives. Meanwhile, as Hitler rises to power, Else finds herself a stranger in her own land; she too must take the road from Berlin to Jerusalem. In a sense, both women are revolutionaries - Else in art, Tania in politics - and Gitai juxtaposes their different perspectives on life, adopting a relevant style for each. In Berlin (actually Paris), master cinematographer Henri Alekan visualises a blue-black city with explicit references to expressionism; in Tania's story, the arid landscape and low-key drama are photographed realistically by Nurith Aviv. If this subtle and restrained film struggles to accommodate Else's flamboyant personality, it nevertheless climaxes with her, amid a shattering sonic barrage of death and destruction that brings it bang up to date. 'There is lamentation in the world/As if God had died/And we are in his cemetery'.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Amos Gitai, Gudie Lawaetz|